Oct 4

Nat Torkington

Nat Torkington

HBO Attacking BitTorrent

HBO is actively poisoning the BitTorrent downloads of the new show Rome. In addition to an older tactic of offering bogus downloads that never complete, HBO is now obstructing the downloads offered by other people. BitTorrent downloads are peer-to-peer, but the peers are introduced to each other by a tracker ("you're looking for Rome Season 1 Episode 2, talk to"). HBO runs peers that tell the tracker they have all the chunks of the show, but then send garbage data when a downloader requests a chunk. The downloading client can detect that it's garbage and will try another peer for the chunk, but the end result is that it takes much much longer to download shows. This isn't HBO's first move to stop online distribution (see this story of a guy who received a "you're busted" letter from HBO) but it's the most active effort I've heard about. It's also very effective--to test this, I randomly selected a healthy torrent for the 2nd episode of Rome, and after hundreds of failed chunks the download stalled at around 30%.

Naturally the downloaders are fighting back. Systems like Peer Guardian let you manage blacklists of bogus peers. It will also autodetect new bogus peers. At the end of this post I've included one such list of known-bad peers, found on a discussion of a failing Rome download. There are a lot of IPs involved in this! You'll see companies like Media Sentry who are agents for the media companies in tracking down and stopping illegal filesharing activity, as well as a large number identified just as HBO.

PeerGuardian is only the start. I think the approach to poison peers will be the same as to spamming mail relays. We'll see distributed blacklists with a reputation system managing the blacklists. It's beginning to emerge informally. The fact that bogus fragments are so easily detected (every fragment has a guaranteed-correct checksum provided by the person who originally seeded it) means that there's no messy Bayesian spam detection algorithms or grayboxes. If you send me a bogus fragment, you're obviously evil. The problem then becomes determining which reports of poison peers are bogus. Any success HBO has in the download wars will be shortlived, as I expect to see software implementing this kind of distributed automatic blacklisting soon.

Performance Systems International Inc:
ServerBeach, Peer 1 Network Inc:
Peak Web Hosting:
Abovenet Communications Inc:
ThePlanet.com Internet Services:
Global Crossing:

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Comments: 134

  philb [10.04.05 10:16 AM]

Gah! If they only put half as much effort into making legal downloads, even with ads and/or DRM(even chargable), available, they'd be onto a real winner.

BitTorrent downloads of TV episodes are so clearly a useful means of distribution (witness the number of people who do it), and unlike movies it probably doesn't affect DVD sales that much. I've occasionally downloaded a TV episode that I've missed and not videoed, then deleted it. In some cases (e.g Angel) I've gone on to buy the DVDs.

  Anonymous [10.04.05 11:54 AM]

i swear, i just want to write a letter to the producers of 'the west wing' and just enclose a check. the show is always on at a terrible time for me and i never see it, so i download instead. the downloaded torrent is in HD and looks great in widescreen on my powerbook. the sound is tremendous because i have a great set of speakers for the computer. it's just overall a superior experience that i would gladly pay for, if only i could!

  Anonymous [10.04.05 12:05 PM]

The problem sounds familiar: see "The Byzantine Generals Problem"

Here is a solution

  John Dowdell [10.04.05 12:35 PM]

"Naturally the downloaders are fighting back."

Are they making their own videos now? (Or do they still want the work of the people and businesses they don't really like?)

  monkeyhat [10.04.05 12:46 PM]

Did you even read the article, 'John Dowdell'?

They're making blacklists of bad peers.

  vbguy [10.04.05 01:27 PM]

monkeyhat, I think John Dowdell was trying to make a point that it's the property of HBO. I personally subscribe to HBO, but download the shows instead of watching them on TV because they're on at a bad hour.

Also, use the "safepeer" plugin in Azureus to block bad IP's. It works wonders.

  ethan [10.05.05 09:52 AM]

This brings up an issue i've wondered about. If i subscribe to hbo and have a dvr record Rome for me. Am i violating copyright by downloading a copy off bittorrent? Same question for music-if i own the cd and have it ripped to itunes do i violate a rule by downloading the mp3 from somewhere which is identical to the one i already have.

  Azer [10.05.05 02:00 PM]

" "Naturally the downloaders are fighting back."

Are they making their own videos now? (Or do they still want the work of the people and businesses they don't really like?)"

No, that would require actual intelligence and hard work. Something that is in short supply with these people.

  vbguy [10.06.05 11:47 AM]

"No, that would require actual intelligence and hard work. Something that is in short supply with these people."

I'm personally a very hard worker. In fact I rarely have a free hour, which is why I download it to watch later instead of watching when it airs the first time around. What HBO should do is offer the bittorrent downloads to subscribers and it would probably curb the piracy.

  Anonymous [10.06.05 01:44 PM]

i haven't had any problem bittorrenting rome episodes, even several days after they've been posted, so i don't know how big of a problem this is.

on the other hand, i'm on a pretty big uni pipe, so i should probably check my discarded data too because i might just not be noticing the slowdown

  Tadpole256 [10.06.05 02:04 PM]

That's complete and utter hot garbage. Why can't these large corporations embrace new technology and find ways to make it profitable rather than trying to stiffle progress?

  Anonymous [10.06.05 02:08 PM]

Downloading TV shows isn't illegal or immoral. There has never been a case of anyone EVER (US) being arrested/sued for downloading TV content.

What is the big deal? HBO...I understand... anything else--it's free anyway! Especially network shows (antenna, dumbasses, even in HD). So again, I say "what's the big deal?" I could just as easilly tape it to a VCR or Tivo or DVD recorder.

I hope the people who made the comments about people being lazy or of lower intellegence would consider that they are barking up the wrong tree with TV downloads (but I do agree with you when it comes to music and movie downloads).

  Gerk [10.06.05 02:22 PM]

Isn't it a conflict of interest that HBO is advertising on the public internet that they are making available their material (regardless of what they are actually serving)? Isn't this the exact thing they are trying to stop from happening? Isn't this ILLEGAL ?? Maybe the hollywood guys should sue them.

Can anyone prove that this stuff is coming from HBO? If so I think that someone should sue THEM for posting this alleged content and breaking the DCMA.

  cameronraygun [10.06.05 02:23 PM]

That's complete and utter hot garbage. Why can't these large corporations embrace new technology and find ways to make it profitable rather than trying to stiffle progress?

Because most corporations are run by old, techno-phobic men in expensive pinstripes who care more about driving Lexus SUVs and playing golf on the weekends than dealing with the difficult issues of tracking trends and figuring out problems.

It's always been that way. It'll always be that way. Corporate America is filled with idiots.

  Brad Malone [10.06.05 02:25 PM]

this is so cool

  markremo [10.06.05 02:42 PM]

They are playing loserball.

  Jeremy [10.06.05 03:05 PM]

You know this is unlawful use access of computer networks/systems, and HBO could be liable for a classaction suit, for knowning poisoning data transmissions, and prehaps may even fall under a DMCA clause for knowningly circumventing software protections (checksums).

This would be in addition to causing undue stress on the internet and it providers, somebody has to pay the data usage across networks, it'll come at ISP's expense.

  John Doe [10.06.05 03:37 PM]

Interesting trivia:

People with the strongest opinions against illegally downloading intellectual property are among the worst offenders when it comes to the former.

FYI, my IQ is 72, so Azer and co. are right on the money :>

  farbanti [10.06.05 03:40 PM]

I would pay up to $5 an episode to download HD content with surround sound that I can watch on my computer. I can't even get that from my cable provider right now and I would have to buy a $1000 tv to enjoy it. So I use bittorrent instead. I am using Peergaurdian and a private tracking site. I've only had about 50 failed hashes per episode so its only a few extra megs of data.

  Jack [10.06.05 03:41 PM]


I'm paying for a certain bandwidth. There is no suck thing as undue stress because I can't go over my cap. And if there is stress, that means my ISP is not on top of it.

Believe me, even if I'm not downloading kinky porn 24/7, I'll find a way to fill my modem's coax with stuff.

  Juan Aguilar [10.06.05 04:17 PM]

"i swear, i just want to write a letter to the producers of 'the west wing' and just enclose a check."

In the case of HBO, you can do just that. Subscribing to HBO is easy enough if you have cable TV.

Now, what intrigued me about the comment above is what amount I would write the check out for. The average 30-second spot costs $150,000. The West Wing surely commands a premium. Let's guess $325,000. How many 30 second spots in a 1 hour broadcast? I'd guess 45. That's $14,625,000. West Wing's ratings this Sunday was 5.6/8. So, if my math is correct, West Wing is charging advertisers aprox. $2.40 per viewer. Feel free to write out your check.

  Rome Bustee [10.06.05 04:56 PM]

I was busted in this way a couple days ago. My internet connection went down, I called my ISP (a cable company) and they asked if I was downloading Rome. I was shocked. The faxed me some documents from HBO/MediaSentry chronicling what had happened (My IP Address and the particulars). They also included a cease and desist statement to sign (I agree to stop downloading or serving HBO materials). I had to sign it to get my connection back. I'm a self-employed web designer and am crippled without my connection so I signed it and faxed it back.

That same night I ordered DSL. I wish them luck with their partnership with HBO and quest against copyright infringement, but they lost a four year customer in the process.

  Chris Taylor [10.06.05 05:07 PM]

I have no moral issue with downloading Rome. I have and pay for HBO with my Direct TV service (we have the starz hbo package) its NOT CHEAP and dammit I want to see the stinking show. I download it because both our tivos are always recording "something else" at the same time as rome comes on. so I download it.

check out www.rentmydvr.com I just found it last night and it seems fascinating !!

Chris Taylor

  Jacques Derrida [10.06.05 06:17 PM]

these idiots are probably profiling us for demographic information so they know what to put on their idiotic distribution channels for content, because they personally would not have a clue. As Harry Shearer has said, copyright your lives. This is an invasion of privacy issue, our civil liberties are at risk and the intrusiveness is ridiculous. Now that the morons who control things realise finally how the p2p networks and protocols exist why can't they work with the community rather than greedily destroy it? If there is someone out there who actually knows someone who can affect these things, fucking talk to them. They need to realise the distribution infratstructure is there already and negotiations are better than this mindless attempt at destruction of a virtual community. Morons!

  Anon [10.06.05 06:31 PM]

I just got a call from my ISP telling me that HBO has served an infringement notice for my IP regarding Rome and bittorrent.

Sucks for them. I've purchased a bunch of HBO shows on DVD after first being exposed to them via P2P.
I might even subscribe to HBO, except for the only way to get it is via cable TV (or Satelite, which is little better), and those guys are sleazebags. They won't give you a straight answer about their pricing, or the pricing of the premium channels. Who wants to do business with someone like that? Plus, you usually have to get the basic channels first, and just about all of that shit is a waste of my time.

  Steven Andrew Miller [10.06.05 06:45 PM]

HBO is not "attacking" BitTorrent. They are "attacking" people who are illegally downloading their shows.

It amazes me how far some people will go to rationalize theft.

  Tim [10.06.05 07:20 PM]

HBO is not "attacking" BitTorrent. They are "attacking" people who are illegally downloading their shows.

It amazes me how far some people will go to rationalize theft.

So two wrongs make a right? Even if the person should be able to download the show because they currently have a subscription and have access to it anyways? Can anyone explain to me why HBO is in the right and the downloaders are in the wrong here?

  Tim [10.06.05 07:21 PM]

HBO is not "attacking" BitTorrent. They are "attacking" people who are illegally downloading their shows.

It amazes me how far some people will go to rationalize theft.

So two wrongs make a right? Even if the person should be able to download the show because they currently have a subscription and have access to it anyways? Can anyone explain to me why HBO is in the right and the downloaders are in the wrong here?

  ME [10.06.05 08:13 PM]

I know that Comcast offers HBO on demand. You can watch what you want when you want, eliminating the need to download it all. If you are willing to pay for it then pay for HBO on demand and there you go.

  cg [10.06.05 08:56 PM]

OK, so I get HBO (or any other channel, premium or not) on-demand. Most of the time, there are just a few *specific* episodes they offer. If and when I can find the one show I want (or all of them), I can then record it on my Tivo/PVR, right? I can use my PVR to put it on a DVD, right? If I'm running a home-brew PC-based PVR, I can copy it to disk. Or, I can just record it when I watch it at it's regularly scheduled time. The point is, I already pay the particular media company for the right to watch their channel, because I want to *WATCH* the programming on that channel.

Anyway, there are several ways that I can get this show onto a device that will allow me to play it back whenever I want, on whatever device I want. Are you saying that because it's downloaded instead of recorded from TV that it's illegal?

I hope whatever tards at HBO came up with this idea get knocked over the head with the clue stick!!!!! If they want to stop/reduce the downloads that they think is a bad idea, then USE THE TECH that will enable them to make a buck off of it. People are still gonna download it, but if the make it easy to _legally_ obtain this show ($$ for non-subscribers, 1/2$ or free for customers), they can have a huge array of options for how to present this, and the method of delivery. Of course, putting some stupid DRM in there is gonna hurt their cause...

What the hell is it gonna take for these old media companies (MPAA, RIAA, TV, Cable, etc) to realize that the internet and online users could be helping their bottom line instead of making them look like idiots, and them treating their customers like theives. There is a market opportunity here, and they are completely ignoring it.

  kablamo [10.06.05 09:05 PM]

It amazes me how far some people will go to rationalize theft.

You have to value something in the same way for it to be theft. I don't put any stock in ideas of Intellectual Property that allow more than a single artist to take credit and make a living from their artistic product. Prohibitive laws which no one follows quickly lose their meaning and their force.

  NotInUSA [10.06.05 09:05 PM]

For those of us living in a foreign country, where US satellite DOESN'T reach, this is the only way to get this stuff. C'mon networks, offer it. Oh, and no ads either.

  Frank [10.06.05 09:42 PM]

How can it be theft when I already pay them for their content?

  Puck [10.06.05 10:01 PM]

Hey, HBO has the right to distribute their stuff however they want. If they dont want to make it available on demand, then tough. Its their property. They are not suing you like the MPAA or the RIAA.
The RIAA is trying to save a dying business model. They know that they could easily become obsolete. The MPAA and HBO are just trying to protect their investment. They spend millions of dollars creating these TV shows and Movies. They own a product. A real product, unlike the RIAA. They simply own distribution.
You are absolutely right, you could easily use current technology to transfer these shows to your other devices. The problem is that this would be a copyright violation in itself.
Dont be pissed at HBO, they are the only channel in my opinion that still has good television.
They arent trying to kill off downloading, they are trying to make downloading difficult enough that it ceases to be casual.
This is a great idea.
The RIAA and the MPAA and HBO and NBC and all the other content providers know that copyright infringement will occur. They are just trying to get it back into the margins, instead of out in the open.
HBO doesnt want to sell an episode of ROME on the net for $2, when they can sell you the entire package for $20. Its a package deal. Its a marketing ploy, and everyone does it.

  Nexus [10.06.05 10:02 PM]

It amazes me how far some people will go to rationalize theft.

Let's set this straight right now, this is NOT theft. Downloading any movie, music, game, or TV show is NOT theft. It is copyright infringement. In order for something to be theft, you must deprive someone of something. If I steal a candy bar from Wal-Mart, then Wal-Mart can no longer sell that candy bar. I have deprived them of something. When you download, you are not depriving anyone of anything. If I download Rome, i am in no way preventing someone else from watching it. The same goes for movies and music. The **AA use this type of propaganda to make people out to be evil 'pirates' when they aren't losing anything. I download only what I would not have otherwise bought or paid for. They are not losing a sale, because they never had it. I still pay for quality. Copyright infringement is a civil matter not a criminal one. You don't see the government arresting thousands of people. The only time they get involved is when the scale of infringement is massive. Please learn about the issues before you speak on them.

  Not In USA2 [10.06.05 10:11 PM]

Some of us dont' want to wait years for the stuff to come out in our country and don't have the option to get HBO via Pay TV, hell we can't even get the Sci Fi channel, what options are available for us? If Sci Fi/HBO woudl put them on the net for $2-$3 each even with DRM that woudl be cool.

  Anonymous [10.06.05 10:14 PM]


  John C. Randolph [10.06.05 10:15 PM]

Ok, first of all: copyright infringement isn't theft, it's infringement. That's why it has a different name, and is covered by different statues than theft. (This was explained to me by a Federal Circuit Court judge, whom I won't name.)

Secondly: if you buy service from HBO, they promise to deliver the content to you by a particular means. This does not give you a license to obtain the same material by other means.

Thirdly: While the cable companies and HBO may be stupid, avaricious, etc, etc, that's their prerogative. You can do business with them or not, it's up to you. Nobody ever died from TV deprivation.

Now, when it comes to ripping DVDs to your computer, it's a different story. If you own the DVD, you probably are entitled to make a backup copy under the "fair use" doctrine, and since even finding out whether you're doing so would probably require a violation of the fourth amendment, HBOs options for keeping you from ripping the DVD are limited to buggering up the disk in some way to make it hard to copy. If you defeat the anti-backup measures, and keep the backup copy only for your own use, you're probably OK.

If you rent a DVD and rip it, then you're violating the copyright, although the same fourth-amendment issue can probably keep you from being prosecuted for it.

At any rate, downloading copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder is illegal: if you do it, do it at your own risk, and kindly refrain from bitching about it if they find out about it and sue you.


  cg [10.06.05 10:17 PM]

You are absolutely right, you could easily use current technology to transfer these shows to your other devices. The problem is that this would be a copyright violation in itself.

This actually isn't copyright infringement. This has already been upheld in courts, and if it was illegal, TIVO (etc) and set-top dvd burners wouldn't be legal.

Yes, I understand that HBO, like other media companies, is trying to keep it's current business model. Yes, they are trying to stop all downloads, and no, they don't want to piece off a little at a time, they want to sell you big pieces for a bigger cost. What the don't get is that people don't want DRM-packed commercial-filled content for a high(er) cost.

People do want clean content, with no BS attached. If there aren't cheap easy alternatives, it will be taken. Some 50-year old in a 3-piece suit in a boardroom has NO IDEA what is going on in the mind of a 16-year old or a 25-year old that just wants to watch a show. They don't get it, and their business will die because they cannot adapt. Too f-ing bad. I won't miss them a bit.

  LilAussie [10.06.05 10:42 PM]

Too bad for all those suckers not living the USA who will probably never be able to view such shows as Rome. In Australia there are 3 commercial stations, each very conservative. Rome, like Oz before it, will never be shown on these channels. Oz was shown on a fourth "free" station, but at random times all jumbled up. So for some of us the ONLY way to watch a show like Rome is to download it, and probably buy the DVD later. I guess its back to quality shows from FOX that dont make you think...

  Raven Lunatic [10.06.05 10:58 PM]

People do want clean content, with no BS attached.

I wholeheartedly agree. Nothing bugs me more than coming home with a DVD I've just *bought* and having to put-up with media company ads, previews and trailers (as though it's a rental DVD) before getting to the root menu (pressing Menu, Title, Skip and Fast-forward having no effect because the media company said they can't).

  jim [10.06.05 10:59 PM]

I 2nd the post from NotInUSA. Some HBO programs are taken up by stations in Aus (about 3 years after they're shown in the US) but then either dropped, moved to ridiculous timeslots, or just not shown at all if something "better" (i.e. sport) comes along. If the local TV networks treat their viewers like idiots, then I feel justified in downloading the shows. Since it's eventually going to be shown on fta TV here anyway, I don't view it as stealing.

  urbanriot [10.06.05 11:01 PM]

The problem for everyone is content delivery. Cable companies are charging rediculous prices for packages of channels that people don't want or need. Intelligent companies should start offering their shows as high definition downloads through their web sites and on bittorrent with advertisements on both the downloading web page and the file itself.

  Lukas [10.06.05 11:45 PM]

Sounds like someone put an old idea into work. This Guy wrote about it 3 years ago:


  Mark Scott [10.07.05 12:01 AM]

Contrast this with the behaviour of the BBC, who frequently make available downloads (or streaming versions, which can easily be downloaded) of new and popular shows - they even trail the online availability of their shows in their broadcast output.

Of course the funding/revenue models of HBO and BBC are completely different, and the BBC do attempt to limit access to their material to IP addresses that are likely to be in the UK, and rightly too, so that capitalist running dogs in the USA and elsewhere must adhere to their chosen "pay through the nose" model.

  Michiel [10.07.05 12:45 AM]

I'd also have to agree with the NotInUSA commenter; living in the Netherlands I rarely get to see the good shows if at all, and then only to have them chopped up and shown out of sequence, and often stopping halfway through the season.

Shows like Futurama or the new Battlestar Galactica? Too much of a niche audience for us dutchies so we are lucky if we get to see a few disjointed episodes.

So I download and watch them. I usually buy the DVD set when it finally arrives in the stores here.

  Juvenall Wilson [10.07.05 02:27 AM]

No, that would require actual intelligence and hard work. Something that is in short supply with these people.

Oh yes, it's those who are downloading that lack intelligence and not the network that's passing up a prime opportunity to blaze new grounds by using this popular medium as a cost-effective, potentially profitable distribution tool.

  Stuart Keating [10.07.05 02:51 AM]

You could continue downloading tv shows...or just chuck the fucking idiot box out the window. Television is slowing down evolution and is the biggest floodgate for bad information. Even bigger than the internet, suprisingly.

  AJS [10.07.05 03:25 AM]

How exactly is someone downloading a programme that they presumably had the right to watch {TV licence and cable/satellite subscription fees up to date; I am guessing that the cable/satellite TV companies insist to see your TV licence before they'll let you sign up, and can cut you off in a heartbeat if necessary. Sky and NTL certainly do} any different than recording it on a VCR / DVD+RW / Sky Plus / any other kind of TV-recorder, at the time of broadcast?

Please, spare me any specious arguments about removal of advertisements. It's possible to pause a tape or insert chapter marks on a DVD at the time of recording.

  Vertigo [10.07.05 03:26 AM]

You think Australia is bad.. we here in South Africa don't have

Smallville (6 months or more behind)
Prison Break
Stargate : SG-1
Stargate : Atlantis
NO Star Trek at all what so ever
Farscape only showed half a season
Battlestar Galactica (new or old)
Space Race
Threat Matrix
etc etc etc

We don't get any SCI-FI here, and we don't even have SCI-FI on satelite (we had SCI-FI UK for a few years, but it sucked (Lexx reruns day and night)

How are we suppose to get these excelent shows? Can't even buy them on DVD here because were in a different Zone and they don't release these things on Zone 2 frequently.

  Anonymous [10.07.05 04:24 AM]

Based on this article, I just called and cancelled all my HBO channels. And I don't even know what Rome is. Good work, HBO, you friggin morons.

  Anonymous [10.07.05 04:25 AM]

Based on this article, I just called and cancelled all my HBO channels. And I don't even know what Rome is. Good work, HBO, you friggin morons.

  Ian [10.07.05 05:11 AM]

I don't mind paying a reasonable fee to download each episode. Reasonable would be at most $2, maybe just slightly more. It would obviously have to be free of advertising, including those obnoxious, moronic studio adverts they love to put on DVDs (like I really give a hoot about the studio's numbskull 'brand'), as well as any restrictions on when or where I can play it.

Most shows don't appear on TV where I live and I won't pay the exorbitant prices charged for DVDs just to watch something once. About $1.50 to at most $2 per hour of material is a reasonable amount to pay.

I'd even pay for satellite if I could subscribe to just the one or two worthwhile channels, instead of paying for sport and pan&scan movie channels that are just a waste of bandwidth.

  Zack [10.07.05 05:42 AM]

why do they do this? they release it On Demand anyway. i saw all of rome recently from On Demand. at this point i could have easily hit record on my VCR or hooked up the cable box to my PC and recorded it to the PC. and what about tivo?
i don't get why they do this? people have been recording TV shows forever and its legal. and did i mention taping off of HBO for free movies? i'd actually do this, but i don't have enough temp space on my comp to record uncompressed video/audio. so i'll have a 'friend' do it for me and send it to me. i don't see whats wrong with this. yes it does break copyright laws, but so what. i'm not hurting anyone. i don't see how they make money off of someone seeing a program, there are no commercials etc.

i just say this: at least they aren't trying to sue every user who downloads that rome torrent.

  Anonymous [10.07.05 05:43 AM]

from TFA:
> there's no messy Bayesian spam detection
> algorithms or grayboxes. If you send me
> a bogus fragment, you're obviously evil.

Not quite true.. Transmission errors mean that fragments sent by friendly peers will sometimes fail checksums.

To overcome the problem, bittorrent clients will need the functionality to block peers that send an unreasonable proportion of bad data.

Azureus (http://azureus.sf.net) already has a feature to do this.

  Sys Admn [10.07.05 06:14 AM]

Of course, the real benefit of a reputation system is that it allows the attacker to figure out who to sue first :-)

  End Run [10.07.05 07:54 AM]

Freenet + Frost (TV Boards) + FUQID

Geez, need I say more?

  Marc [10.07.05 08:03 AM]

In much the same way that the auto industry shut down light rail and replaced it with busses, this is a conspiracy among the monopoly cable companies and for-pay TV (HBO and other subscribers). HBO could setup their own tracker and charge per episode. The only way for me to get HBO is to buy a package from (the monopoly cable company) Comcast and get all kinds of things I don't want at a price that is too high for me. I cannot get the shows I want from HBO.
Last comment. If I buy HBO, tape Rome and give the tape to my friend, am I a criminal? Would you consider me a dick-head if I told you that I won't tape it for you because you have to buy it yourself and I'm not a criminal? This is all big business just trying to keep people down and convince the people that if the big business isn't making profits and the CEO doesn't get a new airplane, then we the people are to blame while we scrape to make ends meet.

  Andy [10.07.05 08:09 AM]

You're right Puck. It is tough...for them. They can try to artificially control supply if they so choose, but that doesn't make them righteous. They have an opportunity to make money from downloads, but choose not to. That's their choice.

Sorry, but RIAA members own the product just as surely as the MPAA members own their movies. Both engage in the creation of artificial scarcity to push up prices. There is no shortage of TV, movies or music. In fact if market forces were actually allowed to play out the music industry would just collapse. There is so much music being produced and it is so cheap to make that under proper competition an album would cost less than $1. Movies are somewhat more expensive, but most of the money is wasted on overpaid actors, unnecessary CG and, most of all, advertising.

Theft requires that someone be deprived of something. If I could and would have bought something, but I copy it anyway they can make an argument that it is theft. In reality I would just watch these on TV, and only once at that, so I wouldn't have bought anything anyway. I would not buy a DVD set just to watch the show once, unless the prices came down.

John C. if downloading materially results in the same outcome, then they're on shaky ground regardless of any agreement. They'd have to convince a judge that downloading for the purpose of time-shifting is materially different to using a recording device. There is also the matter of whether the agreement in fact specifically denies other means of obtaining the material or merely states the manner in which they intend to provide it to you.

We can also choose to not pay them if we feel they are too greedy. Nothing wrong with undermining their business model.

And let's not once again confuse illegal with wrong.

I'm like most people, I'm willing to pay a small, reasonable fee to download TV, movies and music. When it comes to music I want to bypass the major label middlemen so they can't take their 90% cut. The movie studios complain that movies are expensive, but they're the twits paying morons $20 million for a movie, wasting stupid amounts on pointless computer graphics, and then topping it all by burning the same again on advertising; they don't have to do any of this, but they choose to because they're hoping to make a quick buck instead of a good steady income.

  symlink [10.07.05 08:13 AM]

I think that an important point that some people are missing is this:

Just because YOU own the DVD or have a subscription to HBO doesn't mean that the people downloading Rome from you have one too.

Or do you not realize that when you download from Bittorrent, other people are also downloading from you?

  anon [10.07.05 08:21 AM]

Consider this. If you have digital cable your cable box really is just a computer with a non windows operating system installed on it. Mine has a processor, memory, a video card, a hard drive, even a USB port. When I change the channel, the computer (set top box) is downloading the content and decoding it to play on my monitor (TV). My cable company is also my internet provider, and if I remember correctly digital cable is actually delivered by TCPIP (through a non routable network, like 10.x.x.x network). The only thing that makes downloading episodes from bittorrent different from watching them on TV is the source. It�s not how you acquire it; it�s where you acquire it from. Any argument about the legality of this topic should focus on that.

  Bittorrent [10.07.05 08:36 AM]

Of course http://www.myBittorrent.com is working hard on building some protections to protect our real users from these kind of companies like HBO.

  ray [10.07.05 08:45 AM]

I pay 56.99$ for my cable access, if I wanted to watch HBO I would have to pay another 50$ a month for them to splice my cable(that already connects to my computer) and give me a fancy box with a controller.

The technology is out there for me to watch one of the few TV shows(without comercials) worth watching (imo).

I only watch Rome, My name is Earl, and Lost. I am not paying 50$ to also have a tv running(which waste electricity) and only watch 2%(actually A LOT lower if you count commercials) of the programming.

  HBO Fan [10.07.05 09:17 AM]

You've got to be kidding me! Are some of you really out there preaching that you have the right to download HBO shows? Aside from the fact that these shows aren't free to make - and sparing the debate on how much the actors and actresses get paid relative to what they should earn - HBO is a pay service. Period. Yeah, I can take my TiVo or VCR and record the show for myself, and I do sometimes if I can't watch live, but you aren't paying for it. I know that its an extra $15 or whatever for HBO, but I've come to love the programming and am willing to pay that. I'm sorry if some governmental or geographical divides prevent you from getting HBO, but if you hadn't illegally downloaded it in the first place, you wouldn't know what you're missing anyway. Cable TV is not a utility like electricity or gas, its a luxury item.

  urbanriot [10.07.05 09:31 AM]

What if you pay for HBO, but you miss the episode in question and want to grab the one you missed off the net? Is that illegal?

  Sue HBO [10.07.05 09:33 AM]

One thing people are not taking into account regarding HBO (Media Sentry) sending bad data. Even if you only connect to a tracker to keep stats of peers and seeders (not to actually download), the bad seeders still have bots designed to capture your IP address, send it to the bad seeders and start sending you the bad data packets, unrequested!. This turns into a flood with 40-50+ packets per second or more. I monitored this with peer gaurdian and an IP packet analyzer. Even if you disconnect from the tracker it does not stop. I watched these packets continue for 10+ hours after the fact until I finally changed my IP. This is also known as a DISTRIBUTED DENIAL OF SERVICE attack and is unquestionably illegal. Remember, you do not have to be actively downloading to be attacked by this method. The flood of packets did prevent me from using my browser to surf the net during the experiment so I was being denied the service I had paid for. I hope somebody with more legal means than I can look at this aspect of HBO / Media Sentry and start a class action lawsuit for DDOS'ing. :-)

  kc [10.07.05 09:41 AM]

Aside from Spooks, which isn't shown in the U.S. unedited, everything I get is either over the air or on basic cable.

The vast majority is over the air. How the hell can I watch Baseball, Alias, Survivor and Smallville at the same time?

And like others, I prefer widescreen, and if you don't have a high def tuner, everything is full screen.

I'd gladly download these with commercials if they were available...preferably at 2x the resolution of the average torrent. 700mb/hour minimum works for me.

  Anonymous [10.07.05 09:48 AM]

>There is so much music being produced and it is so
> cheap to make that under proper competition an
> album would cost less than $1.

This is bullshit. The cost of albums is not in the raw materials. The cost is the money paid to artists (which is minimal with new artists and significant with established artists), promotions, advertisements and so on.

Unless you're listening to indie music recorded on an extremely low budget, it costs more than a dollar to make.

I have no problem paying 13 bucks for CD, which is what Best Buy, Circuit City and DeepDiscountCD.com sell them for. That's less than what they cost in the late 80's...much less if you adjust for inflation.

  MediumCool [10.07.05 09:59 AM]

It can't be stopped, and it will not stop. There will always be someone who figures out how to circumnavigate the system. I am one of them. I code, I crack. Call me a thief, call me a criminal, call me whatever you like.
I pay for the full package on DirecTV and I will not have my viewing habits dictated.
What's criminal is a vast industry making billions off of artist. Thousands upon thousands of middle men taking their piece, Doing the least amount of work for the maximum profit.
Well that's just business you say.
No, that is theft.
I am watching. I am out here. I will not stop.

  Anonymous [10.07.05 11:37 AM]

Unless HBO can make it so that I can watch their shows 24/7. I will not stop downloading their shows. They should take it as a complement that everyone wants to watch Rome. The only want to stop us to make more money.... I would pay if they made their shows available online to download. If they where a smart company, they would capitalize on this trend.

  Jeff [10.07.05 11:40 AM]


You may be able to get a cable box with VGA output to display the HD on your existing monitor, or get a box with firewire output and use Videolan client (google VLC) to display the firewire stream. I stream my comcast cable over a wireless network to my laptop for a fantastic HD display.

  Nagual [10.07.05 12:04 PM]


  Little Aussie Bastard [10.07.05 06:35 PM]

Rome? What's Rome? For that matter, what's Carnivale, Arrested Development, etc. etc.

Living in Australia I'm not given an option of getting these shows in any sort of legitimate way. If given the chance to buy a download for any one of these and many other shows, I would eagerly jump at it. But I'm not offered anything. If these companies offered downloads they would greatly increase their worldwide audience.

Funny enough there's a disc with illegally downloaded files of arrested development floating amongst friends here. That one illegal copy has prompted at least a half dozen purchases of the series' DVDs from the States that I know of. Without that one illegal preview of the show, those sales would have never happened because there is no other way of previewing the show. Also, without our quasi-legal multi-region DVD players those sales would never have happened either. What is with the entertainment industry? I swear we're TRYING to buy their products from them but they are turning us away!

Anyway, while it is "piracy" many people in the world outside the United States view downloading as a sort of previewing mechanism, allowing us to make educated consumer choices about whether or not we wish to plunk down $90-$200 for a dvd season once it reaches DVD here or pay the huge shipping costs to order it from the States. Rarely are you going to get someone who'll spend that kind of money on something sight unseen.

Here's my math:
- I've watched a total of 20 illegal files of arrested development, carnivale, house, battlestar galactica and rome.
+ I have now purchased/ordered 6 dvd series and plan on ordering a 7th when it becomes available.
= I think technically that's a win for the TV people.

Sure, not everyone does it that way but you'll be surprised by the numbers of people throughout the world who do.

  i_r_Baboon [10.08.05 03:20 AM]

stop whinging you fucktards, you know as well as them that this will not even dent the downloads,this is just to get the boss' of the poor overworked ppl who get nagged to death about illegal download

  Jids [10.08.05 08:15 AM]

To all those posts (or to that one post) that said that recording a tv show on a vcr and then lending it to a friend was illegal, WHERE does it say that it is illegal? It DEFINATELY doesn't say it before the show, it doesn't say it during the show, and it doesn't say it after the show. It's practically the same as letting your friend come over to watch tv at your house, regardless of whether you are there or not. IMO, all these stupid companies should start selling shows over the internet for people to download and watch, because that's the only way that people are going to stop downloading from other people. If you only make it available through one medium, then that's the only way that people will legally get it. However, if you make it available through ALL mediums, well, then, it's ALL legal, isn't it? If you just sell the shows online, there's no reason for people to not buy them from you so they can download it, unless you are charging stupidly high prices for whatever it is that you're selling. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Sure, you can make more money if you bundle up bs with other stuff, but for the people that only want the other stuff, they can get it from somewhere else, and you lose them as customers. WHY do you think all these online companies are able to make so much money within such a short time? Availability through all mediums with decent pricing is the way to go, not through only one medium.

My $0.02

  Anthony [10.08.05 08:44 AM]

I find this all really stupid, downloading HBO is wrong yes but so what? this is what happens when you don't provide customers the service they want for an honest/reasonable price NOT the most you could possibly milk them for before losing too many customers.

I download tv shows, i know it's wrong and i'm not going to say it's right "because i'm not happy with the service". But surely with situations like this the courts need to redefine what is right and wrong.

Imagine if the music industry only allowed people to listen to their music through radio and live performances in today's day and age. It's the same as holding people hostage, sooner or later they're going to start providing the service they have been denied for themselves ( i.e recording the radio and passing it around). The problem is the whole industry wants to stick to the same old business model so there is not any proper competition in the inovation and technological areas. They're simply comfortable with the current model and don't want to change because the furure is "scary" and "unknown" and they might not make any more money than they make now and for some reason money defines good or bad and not growth, appeal or CUSTOMER SATISFACTION.

They just have to accept that the times are changing and the traditional idea of television is not going to last forever. You could think of it like a rental car, you can keep fixing it and fixing it but sooner or later you're going to have to trade it up for a new better car if you want people to keep using it. You could compare downloading tv shows using bittorent as the customers getting out of the car and walking because it has gotten to the stage where they can walk faster. Yeah you're walking on a freeway which gives you a 90% chance of dieing but that's just shows how crappy the car was (i.e. people are willing to "steal" tv shows because of the tired old idea of only being available through television braoadcast from a recording).

Surely this is an issue for The Office Of Fair Trading because it's not in the best intrests of the consumer. If some networks began using the internet to sell their shows and actually created competition in the inovation and technological area then everyone would follow suite.

The PVR was the first step toward the advancement of television but it seems to have stopped dead after that.

  mrreeow [10.08.05 02:05 PM]

Well, just to spite, I downloaded it with bittorrents. I watched a bit and it is total crap. The same old soap opera created since humankind could speak 7 words to describe what happened. This shit should be thrown in the toilet, not distributed to waste more time and destroy young mind. lol

  3rd HBO Bustee [10.08.05 11:12 PM]

I got the same cease and desist mini-lecture from my ISP. Luckily, though, they didn't force me to sign anything. Didn't even force me to say I would never do it again. All they did was tell me I could be sued. And they suspended my connection for a wee bit. I'm sort of guessing I wasn't the only person to get bit by the P2P "we caught you" bit.

To be honest, my problem isn't greed, exactly. Well, in part. I'm broke, so I can't afford HBO right this moment. I was planning on ordering HBO ($10-$15/month), thanks to the Rome downloads, but being an ass kind of changed my mind. I was also going to buy Rome on DVD when it came out, brand new (which I rarely do). Frankly, without the download, I'd have never considered either of the above, as my last impression of HBO was just as Oz got off the ground (yeah, it didn't have much in the way of niceness back then). But I believe buying the Rome DVD used is a better idea. Let eBayers have my future money rather than HBO. *snort*

As for the bad packets, it is true. According to my firewall, I've been trying to "download" from Media Sentry for days, even with all internet programs closed. I'm calling my ISP tomorrow and requesting a new IP. I deleted Rome from my harddrive long ago (before HBO singled me out), and haven't so much as considered downloading it again. In fact, I haven't downloaded much of anything in the last week. (I use BT primarily for fansubs.) I feel harassed right now. :(

  Darren [10.09.05 04:15 AM]

I am a big fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, an HBO show, but I live in the UK and will have to wait quite a while before the new series is shown here. In the past, I have watched CYE on UK TV and downloaded "illegal" movie files of shows. And guess what? I have also gone out and bought ALL of the CYE DVD box sets. Why? Because I am a FAN!

Anyhoo, my point is that if HBO (or any other TV company) decided to broadcast these shows on the net and charged a reasonable rate to download and watch them, I would sign up as a subscriber. But seeing as they don't make it easy, I will continue to act in this nefarious manner until they see sense. Gee - they might even make some money out of the net too!

  WebWiseCrew [10.09.05 06:30 AM]

Wow, what a long list of comments!

Hot Subject!

Anyway, what we are all going through is the growing pains for something that will eventually become pay to view and will become a normal part of our lives in 5-10 years time. TV as we knew it will be a thing of the past.

The bottom line is that HBO or any other similar TV station will have to change as a combination of techologies are clearly changing the face of how we consume our information.

As (some) of the old school farts who run the TV stations retire they will be replaced (I hope) with more new school forward thinking execs who see the potential in updating the old revenue models and creating new revenue models based on a global market instead of just a national one. Once they take off their blinkers, they will see that the world is truly their oyster. (Google = $90billion company)

People who never before could watch certain programs now can because of the combination of these brilliant technologies like the internet/bit torrent, Divx/Xvid, and media PCs or modded Xboxs. :)

If I was an exec I would be interested to know more in how all this could be exploited not stopped!

BBC is already working on something of this nature where DRM is used and is called BBC iMP

Microsoft has jumped on the band wagon and is developing a P2P protocol codenamed Avalanche which I assume will end up being offered as a platform for TV companies to offer/distribute P2P DRM TV programs.

I have been following this area for years with a keen interest and feel it will pan out in a similar way iTunes kicked off legal downloading of music. They are making lots of money by offering digital music singles so people can buy and download one song at a time instead having to buy a whole CD soundtrack with songs they don't want to listen to.

At the end of the day (especially nowadays) the consumers are paving the way in deciding how they want to digest all this media and the big boys will have to find ways to deliver the goods.

Exciting times!


  beavis [10.10.05 08:08 PM]

I just have to add my two cents in here -- I would HAPPILY pay HBO their monthly subscription cost if I could download their content rather than pay the freakin' cable or sat company. 98% of what these companies offer in package isn't what I want. Why should HBO oblige me to subscribe to the home shopping network if I want to watch Rome?

Yes, this does represent a different business model, but until it's adopted I'll be subverting the system. It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of convenience, principle, and disgust with the other crap on television.

  paulpod [10.11.05 09:35 AM]

RE: delayed broadcasting in your territory...

Rome is a HBO/BBC co-production. As a UK license-fee payer, I see no reason not to download - i've already paid thank you. I understand the arguements when it comes to commercial TV, requiring ads to support the creation of such great content in the first place, but we can only be expected to be so patient... Yes Channel 4, with an unaired season six of West Wing, I'm looking at you... Meanwhile Season 7 airs in the states... please.

In the very near future the middle men and bottlenecks (networks) will be removed, production companies will be able to distribute on their own terms and finally receive a fair share of ad revenue. Who needs the tv networks?


  3rd HBO Bustee [10.11.05 05:23 PM]

I'll agree, beavis. My cable company recently raised rates because "some sports channels have raised the costs of their..." I don't watch sports. I have a good half-dozen sports channels, and I don't watch them. >:| Of the...75 or so channels I have, I watch five public channels regularly, and three cable channels regularly, and another 2-8 cable channels VERY irregularly. (In other words, I watch five of those channels regularly, and a few others when they have something on I'd like to see.) Why am I paying $50 plus tax per month for this?

  jack [10.12.05 06:33 PM]

I just got a letter from my ISP about this very thing. *shrug* I have it "on demand", I really don't see what the big deal is with that considered. Nevertheless, I will not download anything like that in the future.

@Rome Bustee1: Interesting what happened to you. The way it happened to me was so much different. I didn't get any fax and my connection didnt go down I simply got a letter a week after they alleged and it said that my ISP didnt give them my information but that it would if the courts required them to. I wasn't presented with any cease and desist thing to sign, but I will not do that again anyway bc I didnt realize the seriousness + that letter scared the heck out of me.

  Isomer [10.13.05 12:31 AM]

I have to sympathize with all the people from Australia. I read a story a week ago about the antiquities of Australian law and broadcasting. As just one example, in Australia there is no legal way to get music onto your ipod. You can buy the devices, but without breaking the law you can't use it. So why should Australians respect those laws? Now we find out HBO and MPAA don't care, either. These people aren't given the *chance* to be loyal customers; they are ignored or sued, and nothing in between.

  devastator [10.13.05 01:38 AM]

Fuck HBO. As long as big business is making billions off the little guy, I will continue to download.

  Matt [10.13.05 10:10 PM]

I'm overseas and I can't watch my favorite show except thru bittorrent. If the dumbasses (HBO lazy bitches) would find a way to offer it to me, I would glady pay a buck or two to download my shows. They need to look at the broader picture here..

  Todd [10.14.05 05:25 AM]

"No, that would require actual intelligence and hard work. Something that is in short supply with these people."

Hahaha well judging from most movies I've seen lately, there isn't much hard work or intelligence going on there AT ALL

Just exactly how many butchered remakes are they gonna produce anyways?

My wallet has been forbidden from doing any further business with the likes of a bunch of dried-up creative blocks sitting around wondering how to milk another stupid idea. :)

  Slee_Stack [10.14.05 06:39 PM]

Count me another Bustee. I was informed via email today with pretty much the same verbage. Looks like no more Rome watching for me. I enjoyed the show but I won't be purchasing HBO for one series.

Does HBO win?
I won't be watching it anymore and I won't be buying their service. That's a net zero for them. They will lose promotion of the show from me since I obviously won't have any more info to share. Sounds pretty meaningless up front but it is a hard to quantify intangible. 100 happy viewers do spawn a number of new viewers. Shortsightedly though, HBO may make a few more peanuts by scaring a few people into paying. Kudos!

Regardless of how silly it is, the fact is that downloading any TV show is illegal. It's a letter-of-the-law thing. Subsricbe, buy the DVD set, own every piece of merchandise associates with the TV show. Download it too and you broke the law.

I do sincerely hope, like most of the other savvy folk here, that we will see internet pay-per-view soon. I really can't see it being anything but a win-win.

-Signed Former Naughty Rome Downloader

  Mark [10.14.05 11:41 PM]

It's almost hysterical to watch the RIAA and the like looking to seek help from the biggest pirates of them all - the Federal Government.

But yeah, let's wipe out all this theft across the board, starting at the very top.

Last time I checked the Victory Tax was repealed in the 1940's. Taking out taxes on personal income is a Constitutional no-no, boys and girls.

So yeah, We The People demand our 'intellectual properties' no longer be infringed upon.

Let's see how high this kite will fly.

  Correcting the Idiot [10.15.05 10:54 AM]

hey Mark, ever seen the 16th Amendment of the US Constitution. "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration." That sure does look like it is legal to tax income to me. Yes, they had to make the amendment because the courts said it was unconstitutional, but it hasn't been unconstitutional since 1913.

  Gottlob Frege [10.15.05 10:16 PM]

On October 8, 2005 08:15 AM, Jids wrote, "To all those posts (or to that one post) that said that recording a tv show on a vcr and then lending it to a friend was illegal, WHERE does it say that it is illegal? It DEFINATELY doesn't say it before the show, it doesn't say it during the show, and it doesn't say it after the show."

No, it does not say that it's illegal in the show. Nowhere on my bicycle does it say that it's illegal to steal it. Nowhere on my house does it that it's illegal to enter without permission. Nowhere on my body does it say that it's illegal to punch me. Where does it say that it's illegal? In the statutes and acts of the country in which I live.

  Klinsek [10.16.05 12:36 AM]

This is so absurd. I just found out about all this while trying to download Episode 6 of Rome. I am an HBO subscriber, and Rome is available on my Comcast On-Demand. However, the geniouses at Comcast managed to completely SKIP Episode 6. To make it worse, I missed the original airing of the episode due to a 32hour cable outage in my area.

As an HBO subscriber, I should have every right to download the episodes I miss due to the neglect of my lousy cable affiliate. These tactics are pointless. They will never stop file sharing.

  Lobbaboll [10.18.05 09:06 AM]

Quote: "I'm personally a very hard worker. In fact I rarely have a free hour, which is why I download it to watch later instead of watching when it airs the first time around. What HBO should do is offer the bittorrent downloads to subscribers and it would probably curb the piracy." ----
Why don't you just watch it on your HBO-on-Demand channel later?

  Max [10.19.05 07:49 PM]

It's so cute when people who have ALMOST learned to spell come out and try the English language online. Keep practicing! But for Pete's sake, don't leave your spell checker behind!


"(even chargable)"

"trying to stiffle progress?"

"I could just as easilly tape it"

"I hope the people who made the comments about people being lazy or of lower intellegence would consider that they are barking up the wrong tree"

"(or Satelite, which is little better)"

"However, the geniouses at Comcast managed to completely SKIP Episode 6"

"It DEFINATELY doesn't say it"

  Max [10.19.05 07:57 PM]

No, but seriously, I do have a real thought to share.

Without getting into my own still-developing opinion on this topic, I'm noticing that a lot of people are saying things like,

"I understand that HBO wants to make more money by selling one expensive package instead of a bunch of cheap TV episodes, but I am not going to pay for the whole deal when I only want one show! HBO, you've just lost a potential customer! It's your loss!"

But this overlooks a very simple question in economics. Sure, Person X, HBO isn't getting any of YOUR money, because they don't offer a cheap enough package for YOU. But surely, if they were to start offering a system where their shows were available episode-by-episode in an On-Demand format, they would lose a lot of their regular full-deal customers who DO pay for the whole deal when they only want a couple of shows. Anyone who would save money by unsubscribing from the full channel and switching to On-Demand would do so.

So the question HBO has to answer is this: would making a full, all-content-available On-Demand system increase or decrease profits?

Clearly, their current answer is "No." And I'd say there's a good chance they're right (especially since they probably have trained professionals thinking about these exact questions all the time, and I don't even have a college degree quite yet).

  Max [10.19.05 07:59 PM]

Ah, take out the words "or decrease" from the second-to-last paragraph of my comment. Even those of us who paid attention in elementary school make mistakes sometimes.

  Completely Fed Up [10.20.05 02:14 PM]

None of this stuff is going to change for quite some time people. We have to face the facts. Do I agree that there should be a better way for us to get our entertainment? Of course. But please try to remember... It's just entertainment. Regardless of what the magazines and masses of morons try to tell us. We do not "need" this crap.

Yes, I download movies, music, tv shows, and anything else that catches my interest right now. Why? Because like most people around the world, I am not earning a 6 figure income, my basic needs cost nearly everything I have, transportation sucks up all stray dollars, and the few cents I have left over go to my limited luxuries so that I don't feel like the only reason I'm alive and permitted to live on the land is to make money for those in power.

I refuse to go into debt for entertainment!

There are certain artists I do continue to support when I can, because they're worth it. And I'd like to see them continue in their success. And occasionally I buy DVD's because I'd like to be able to watch a movie more than once and whenever I like. But I refuse to go to the theatre and pay a minimum of $14 just to see a movie once and be deafened by it. I don't care if there will be certain scenes missing on the DVD anymore.

(By the way, congrats to the studios for that one. You've managed to convince millions to return to paying ridiculous prices!)

Both music and movies are being overrun by remakes now. Quality is being replaced by quantity in every aspect, and I think we deserve to at the very least have decent samples available to us all so we can preview anything we might consider buying.

For those of you in places where you cannot get shows you'd very much like to watch. Look around for people in different countries, make some new friends, connect through FTP, IRC, MSN, PSP, however you can, and ask them to send this stuff. Bypass all the controls. Is it illegal? You betcha! Can they catch you? Not bloody likely! Even if they do... You can lie.. State you were trying to help them by distributing crap as their stuff.

Now one last thing that I was quite surprised none of you mentioned. You would like HBO to make their shows available through torrents or other such forms. The only way they will do anything of the sort is through actually broadcasting it. And each person would then be paying to receive it, each time. Otherwise they run into the same problem. Once you have the file, you can share it to others for free. You can change the name of the file, create your own torrent...etc.

I can't blame them for trying to stop the illegal downloads. But I don't have to like it.

  government_cheez [10.23.05 01:35 PM]

If the people downloading copyrighted content are idots and the media markets are so much brighter, why then haven't they found a way to stop it? Bottom line...if it can be done, it can be undone!! I say aaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh, a pirates life is a life fer meeeeee matey!

  Dezod [10.24.05 02:35 PM]

So, someone want to explain THIS to me:


I asked about it, and he said he was using the IP addresses he found off this this site, and they were the ones conflicting with Sprint, and MS Office Outlook 2003, etc (it appears the MSN Messenger thing must've been coincidence because it doesn't cause that problem anymore). and that some of the IP's listed here are licenced to Comcast Cable. If all these IP's are from HBO causing problems then why does it prevent people logging on the internet through their Sprint phones (conected to their laptop) and why would MS Office 2003 not be able to download mail while these IP's are blocked? It's too weird. Are you sure all those IP's are from HBO causing problems?

  Rome Bustee 1 [10.25.05 11:23 AM]

When I called my cable ISP to cancel service in favor of DSL, I told them that I didn't appreciate the Big Brother treatment (they even played an ad for Rome when I was on hold - bizarre) and was saying goodbye as a result. They deflected the blame to HBO - "if we don't crack down on the people doing this, HBO will sue us. We'll be liable." I've never heard or HBO suing a cable company that provides their channel to customers for this reason - not that I'm a scholar of media law.

I told her that maybe if enough of their customers dropped their service, they would push HBO back. Basically saying, "We're losing customers by fighting your war this way. Why don't you fight downloading another way..."

  JustAFan [10.28.05 02:57 PM]

I agree with my UK counterparts. I pay TV License fee, therefore I have a right to view the shows which my fees part pay for. I would happily pay a reasonable amount to get 'legal' downloads of shows. My problem is, I don't like waiting for next episodes or waiting a whole year for new seasons, I like to know what's happening and know it now. I don't get much time for leisure tv watching, so what ever time i do get, i wanna watch as much as I can.

Media production companies and networks usually have finish filming a whole season before or whilst they air the show. So, why not just give legal downloads for customers who want to pay, and insert adverts into those downloads? NO not adwares or spywares, insert adverts in the actual show itself, unless they're produced by BBC or HBO...

C'mon you media moguls, THINK, figure out a solution... Reach a middle ground...

  silly sunk [11.02.05 02:19 AM]

personally i don't give a damn what they do about downloading, it's their media, it's their right to (try to) defend it. i think it's quite funny they're resorting to methods that could be viewed as DDOS attacks, but i understand their pain. look at carnivale. it was an excellent show, lots of people watched it. so what? so nothing, apparently. they decided to discontinue its production, with 1/3 of the story told. so really, it doesn't surprise me at all they'd make some questionable moves to stop people from downloading. but the thing is this. if they find a way to block the less technologically inclined portion of us from getting their material, well.. guess what, every one of those people has a technologically inclined friend that knows exactly how to help them circumvent that measure. i don't watch rome, but it sounds interesting, and as we all know there's no such thing as bad publicity. people will be attracted just to see what all the fuss is about. and maybe they'll earn some new customers.
media is really just a clever way of being social, to have something shared, but non-critical to think and chat about with your mates. but like most products based on standard models of capitalism, there's very little middle ground. "daddy, will i ever be smart and sophisticated like those people on (insert any iteration of reality-based social drama show like CSI)?" case 1:"no timmy, you're going to be a working stiff - and you'll either be so poor you won't have cable to watch that show on, or if you can you'll be working when it plays, so you'll be persecuted by mega-corporations for downloading it from the internet." case 2:"son, you'll never have to work a non-management position. with my loads of cash, i can buy your way into any school or job, so barring even harmless drug use, you'll be able to watch tv in your office!" sorry, a little off tangent, but here there actually IS a grey area, so we should all enjoy it while we can. if you don't like the show, don't watch it. if you like it, do watch it. if you like it enough to watch it again, go out and buy it.
but anyway! my main reason for posting, is to hoot-hoot* at the people posting to say that everyone who downloads it, even if they're PAID to receive/time lapse HBO's entire programming schedule (which is a lot more than one show), is wrong and in danger of destroying the space-time continuum. get over it. if you've ever watched a show with a friend who didn't have that channel, it's the same thing! oh no! someone else has seen it! let's harrass them into never watching it again instead of building on that interest and creating a new fan and customer. except now everyone has an ip address, and they've actually chosen that path. i wish HBO inner peace, because the warm, fuzzy joy of creating something people like is the real reward, not the unprecedented amounts of profit which will get spent on trying to detract from people being able to enjoy said creation. oh wait! feh.

*hoot-hoot:see the simpsons, which i download instead of waiting weeks to watch becau-OMFG AMERICAN FOOTBALL?!??! STOP PRIME-TIME, WE NEED LIVE COVERAGE!!!!!!)

  Matt [11.03.05 10:32 AM]

You guys calling other people criminals should realize you're looking a little like Howdy-Doody. I've never seen a larger group or dorks - and I mean the Johnny Doo Gooder, boy scout types of dorks. Do you believe everything a corporate media culture tells you? I bet you all have NEVER smoked pot or took a drink or even have an impure thought, have you? Gimme a break. It's the self-righteous that are always the real crooks and perverts, b/c they're hiding their true selves behind piousness (reaction formation for those not scared enough to study psychology). Take that - bastards!

Look - you should be able to download anything - and I mean anything - as long as you don't SELL IT to other people. That's what this is all about anyway - dissuading bootleggers.

Sheesh - it's about the money stupid. No one loses anything from downloaders who DON'T resell it - NO ONE. This is about controlling the reselling.

Now all you people calling other "stealers" and "criminals" - stop being boy scouts. SHEEESH!

  Shank [11.03.05 02:02 PM]

Hey, now I don't subscribe to HBO, but I own all 4 seasons on DVD and I never would have seen this show if it wasn't for the free downloads. So a big middle finger goes up to you HBO. I look forward to circumventing your little ploy.

  Misio [11.04.05 01:55 AM]

Im from Poland, i have HBO. But they dont show Rome in UE :( So.... i downlaoad it. Its a crime? I pay for this shitty TV and i dont have any good TV Series (sorry only Junk from past few years). I know, UE is the "third world" for TV companies....but for what they want us to pay... but Azerus and safeepeer plugin + Peer Guardian 2.0 and.... kiss my nose HBO!

  Gottlob Frege [11.06.05 08:16 PM]

I do not subscribe to HBO. In fact, I haven't turned my TV on in many months.

I frequently download TV shows, movies, and music. I downloaded and watched all five seasons of the Sopranos last fall!

That said, I do not think it is my right to download this material. In fact, I grant that what I am doing is probably wrong. And if HBO can discover some clever way of making this difficult for me, then I have to give them some respect. After all, I have been getting their shows for free -- it seems that they have a right to stop me if they can figure out how to do it legally.

Oh, by the way, I don't pay for the internet either. I have a neighbour who uses an unencrypted wireless router, and I just piggyback on his router.

Of course, my neighbour could legitimately stop me by encrypting his router. He has every right to do that, even though I would find it an inconvenience. Same with HBO: if they can find a legal way to curtail P2P file-sharing, then they have every right to use it.

  SP [11.07.05 06:04 PM]

It is obvious the producers are not looking at it from our perspective. Until they are sitting at home and don't have access to the DVD of their choice, they don't care about whether or not it's available to us, so long as we're paying for it or watching commercials.

  Anonymous [11.08.05 01:48 AM]

May I ask you just a tip?
I've already started the download of Rome and I've known about the bogus peers just now.
I have to delete the whole file downloaded or not?
Thank you.

  BigSlim [11.23.05 07:04 AM]

Whats really sad is the message they are sending. I subscribe to HBO but when I miss an episode I DL it. Is this wrong? Not in my book, as I pay for the service already. But when I received the nasty email recently over downloading episode 12 of Rome, I finally got the picture. The message they send is that you best go out and buy a DVR so as to never miss an episode again. So how is it illegal to download it, but if I get a DVR, I can record it just the same?

I'm flaming mad at their attempts to poison the seeds out there. It's completely hypocritical to say I am committing a crime when I could easily invest in a DVR and produce the same result legally.

I have since cancelled my subscription to HBO. Screw them.

  Joe Nobody [11.30.05 12:13 AM]

People are still using P2B? What a pain. Just use usenet and get good downloads.

  jericho [01.14.06 07:59 AM]

to answer the question that keeps popping up..

"If I pay for HBO already, and download the show, am I breaking the law?"

The answer: yes, most likely. Remember, bittorrent isn't just downloading, it's uploading. While getting the content you paid for might *technically* be legal (but not proven in court), you are also making it available for download, which IS illegal and IS tested in the courts.

The real question becomes.. what if you pay for HBO, download Rome, and configure your client not to upload a single bit?

  jabba [03.21.06 07:00 AM]

I just recieved a similair letter. Looks like they are hunting... Looks like I will finally have to figure out how my TiVo works.

  Anonymous [04.05.06 10:16 AM]

There greed will be there end ... Specially in the US civil rights dont seem to have much value in regards to the oh so mighty *yet crumbling* dolar... look at HBO... they are probably profiling every registerd customer they have and selling your personal info to some 3nd party as part of an add deal ... so much for privacy... the tracking they do is completly illegal.. there justifications are ludicorouse... they even go so far as to misuse the word Theft , that is a seriouse offence * ok not in the CEO world .. there it is considered a cavaliers delict * in the MPAAs eyes they vould eqate it with rape or homocide ... and equating it like that IS AMORAL.. but hey its the wild west ...

Im really happy that in my country it aint so bad ... my US friends who made exchanges here all wanna come back *i wonder why*...but even hear the long arm if the MPAA has its influence ... and with our curant crappy and spineless argentinian import politicans I fear for the worst ...

I hope that their bussiness model finnaly dies and there execs with them ... and that the interent doesnt become another bussines world of the neokapitalistic supply demand crap that our world has become. Not even gonna go into the freedom of speach in the media these days !!!!

  Anonymous [04.07.06 09:18 PM]

There is law and there is a sense of right and wrong. These are the things that seem to arise whenever this file sharing things comes up in discussions.
According to the actions of politicians, IF you get caught breaking the law, you are on your own and subject to those laws that your lawyers cannot fight. If you are not caught, it is just like NOT breaking the law.

If you are a US Corporation and you do not like the laws, you hire some great lobbists and they push through laws that help keep companies making money.
If you are still reading, then the REAL thing at work with the RIAA and the file sharing witch hunt players is something called business ethics.

More times than not, the corporations are taking from the consumers. When the consumers find a loop hole, then these corporations fight WITHIN THE RULES THEY CREATED to 'get what they have coming.'
When I read these forums and listen to comments on podcasts, I realize that no one is looking at this from a actual reality of what is at work.
These are the same corporations that are caught reducing their employee benefits, have executives using off-shore tax shelters, and have a means to not pay corporate taxes. I have no sympathy for them. At the same time, when you load up a P2P software client and you download something that is copywritten, then you ALWAYS pose a threat of being found out.
The good news is that the 'open source' community is motivated to make changes on how files are shared to get around the $10 CD or movie ticket fee or the $18 DVD fee. So no matter what groups like RIAA tries to do, they will be chasing the intellect of the masses - who will always beat them.

  Anonymous [05.11.06 07:23 PM]

You guys need to check out I2P and Ants P2P.

http://i2p.net/ is an anonymous network with a BitTorrent client already built in, and will provide "militant grade" anonymity in the near future (already provides enough to create plausible deniability). Performance can be an issue because it's first and foremost an anonymous network layer.

http://antsp2p.sourceforge.net/ is first and foremost an anonymous P2P network, using the same concepts that made BitTorrent so successful. This tool has the most hope of becoming the next killer P2P application because it's basically anonymous BitTorrent.

The problem with either solution is that you're all still using clients that can be easily tracked by people like HBO, MediaSentry, and SafeNet (just take a look at PeerGaurdian logs and you'll see that they're probing you). So please do your homework and start adopting the anonymous networking clients so we can all benefit and share freely once again. Of course nothing is 100% anonymous, but these programs introduce so much complexity that even if an anti-p2p agency were to spend the time and money to track every packet you sent and received, there is so much plausible deniability that they would not have any grounds for a case.

Bottom line: Give Ants P2P (or another anonymous P2P network) a try and don't give up so quickly. The available file pool cannot grow until more people see the light and start using the next generation P2P tools... while avoiding the possibility of legal headaches.

  Steve [06.01.06 10:14 PM]

Vongo is a low-grade service charging for what you can do for free. No need to pay them to copy what you have a legal right to copy over broadcast channels or cable channels. Connect the cable box or satellite box to your computer video card...and there you go. Nothing that hard given that people have cable high speed data already connected to their computer. Starz and Vongo will go bankrupt as people realize there is no value to them...and VOD, NetFlix, and file sharing are far better...legal file sharing of free personal copies.

  mike [07.25.06 11:46 PM]

if a tv show is played on a public channel. dosent that make the material "free" to a point? it is just as easy to record shows on my satelite with the computer then it is a vcr / dvr. it is being played on public tv for a reason.

also I like to "test drive" what i buy. so much of the dvd's out there are over marketd crap. this way you get to watch the show. and ifyou like it you support it by buying the dvd's that are later offered. I have all of stargate sg-1 downloaded, but guess what. I also own every DVD that is currently on the market. there is one thing that can be said about the dvd's. when i have the show on my hard drive, i dont hav to worry about scratching it by inocent misuse.

these companies just need to adapt to a differnt market / distribution methods.

i.e. charging money for the download, etc...

  Stomper [08.14.06 09:27 AM]

"Intellectual Property" indeed!

Have we fallen so far into the Orwellian mindset of the corporate world that we the public now actually accept this meaningless, double-speak crap as a real concept.

Most if not all of the ideas for content in movies today is derived without permission from real people's lives. Real people who are not paid for their "Intellectual content". WTF!!

Hbo should continue to make the fine series that most us are subscribers to, and shut their holes about what we do with it once we have already paid for it.

  Red [09.02.06 04:35 AM]

Screw HBO. If it's Amerircan - It's mine.

Stop me.


  Red [09.02.06 04:40 AM]

I meant AmeriKan.
You know - the nation of F**KING morons.

Your country lost all it's rights when Bush decided you were above the law.

I'll happily screw your females (18yo's are juicy - I'm 34 :-) beat the crap out of the males and leave them in a coma - and steal anything I please.

IF it's Aerican - it's FREE.
F**K the USA.

Stop me.
Quiet a few have tried.


  Tim O'Reilly [09.02.06 12:58 PM]

Red -- I'm sorry you feel that way. Like a lot of Americans, I feel as frustrated and angry about the direction of our government as you appear to feel. However, tarring all Americans with the same brush is the surest way to feed the right-wing polarization that the current administration is forcing on the world. Work to support Americans who disagree with the current government, don't use policies you disagree with as an excuse for behavior you wouldn't like if it were turned on you.

  right o [09.25.06 04:40 PM]

said perfectly

to stereo-type all americans based on the mistakes of some just isn't right

  Turtle [10.15.06 07:10 PM]

The point everybody seems to have missed is that the TV studios want people to see advertising. That is how they are paid. If they give you a cheap $2 copy of a show, they have no way of knowing if just you watched it or fifty of your mates at a party.... they want everyone to endure the ads..... They probably won't embrace the online revolution until it's too late and some upstart company is making megabucks...

  Turtle [10.15.06 07:13 PM]

'Con't with digital formats it becomes heaps harder to regulate people watching the ads, the most you can do with TV is flip the channel temporarily or mute, you're probably still going to be exposed to ads no matter how "onto it" you are :-), DVD prices probably priced to accomodate whatever they think the average viewership for a bought DVD is..... (ie: 5-6 people might see it)

  mohighlanderfan [10.18.06 01:19 PM]

I have On Demand with our local cable provider but do not have HBO therefore I cannot choose their episodes via on demand. Someone there should have come up with this: let viewers subscribe to series via the on demand option for a flat fee per season. Duh!?! I don't want to wait a year to rent episodes so I guess I will download the torrents. ATTN HBO MARKETING DEPT: I will trade you my idea for a lifetime subscription of Rome.

  bky [11.18.06 01:26 AM]

The article doesn't really bother me, if this was all they were doing, I would fully support them. Why? Fighting on even footing rather then calling in the lawyers is much more honorable. Fighting a protocol based on it's errors is just fine as far as I care; the protocol will adapt, and if a few pirates fail to adapt... then they deserve their slow downloads!

What makes me mad is the people in this topic who got C&Ds from HBO. That shows they are totally unrespectable bags of Sailer Hats In Tubs.

  Shmuelly [11.25.06 03:24 PM]

If you watch shows like Angel, downloaded or broadcast, you are a superdork. I don't mind when superdorks get upset by cool people who manage large companies. However since large movie companies are run by dorks what do you expect? It's just a dork war, and the normal cool people with HOT girlfriends don't care.

However I'm sick so I'm trying to figure this stuff out so I can watch new movies to see if they are any good. I'm fairly sure they're all crap since Hollywood is full of sick overly left wing freaks, so i don't actually want to support them.


  willingtopay [01.06.07 09:45 AM]

ever tought of FOREIGN watchers? people that have NO POSSIBILITY to watch HBO? HBO: if you sold you torrent (it's possible, see bittorrent.com), i'm sure many people would buy them. But make sure a) No DRM that annoys EVERYBODY b) GOOD QUALITY, open formats c) Hi-Speed. my 2 cents

  Another australian [01.24.07 05:25 PM]

Ummm, you guys all know its illegal to play music CD's at work too right? I, of course, would never do that as it would be breaking the law.

Thats why I have never borrowed a book, never used a blank cassette, never bought a blank CD, never play guitar to songs I haven't purchased the sheet music for, never watched a DVD with friends and never lent anyone my ipod (thats the aussie model with only mp3's of me singing my own original material on it).

I also make sure to watch all advertisements in full and concentrate really hard on product placement so I know just what to buy.

If only they would make Soma legal!

  Damn Yankee [03.25.07 12:15 PM]

It's ridiculous that HBO doesn't over Video on Demand service (not to be confused with HBO on Demand) for its original programming.
They would collect MORE from each customer than they do from using a middle man satellite or cable company, not less. Say a Comcast subscriber pays $15.00/month for the HBO portion. You know that HBO isn't receiving the full $15.00 bucks. By charging people an average of $3.00 for each episode downloaded, HBO would collect $15.00 if that same cable subsriber downloaded only 5 episodes of programming a month, and let's face it, most people will download more than 5. For those who get HBO through their cable or satellite because they like the movies too, well, those people wouldn't drop their monthly subscribtion. In addition, HBO would collect an enormous amount from those who don't presently subscribe to HBO, not to mention international users who don't have access to HBO to begin with. Either a) HBO has a bunch of morons running it or b) the cable/satellite companies have threatened some sort of action if HBO offers video on demand. I'm going with option b.

  Raphael [06.03.07 01:42 PM]

Is this legal anyway? I'm a european citizen and have no buisness whatsoever with BHO. There interference is obstructing me. I therefore blocked the ip ranges there using:


I advise others to do the same.

  Dave Paterson [08.22.07 07:49 PM]

I think that you should put sheet music on your site for bands who want to play along to songs:)

David Paterson

  Anon [06.29.08 12:49 PM]

I personally dont download music of films, if i like it I buy it thats SIMPLE, but i understand those out there that like to try before you buy. I think if you download something and you like it, you should pay for it, if your to cheapskate to do that dont download...

Good series like ROME as you all keep mentioning, get cancelled coz millions downloaded instead of buying it and the companies dont make enough money. those ROME lovers of you out there that shared it.. shame on you its your fault.

If somethings worth watching its worth paying for, you dont work for free coz your boss likes it do you?

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